The people of New Brunswich, Canada have come up with a novel idea on reducing their congestion during peak hours: Don’t let senior citizens drive during those hours. Read the article here at themanatee.net
I love this statement from the article:
studies show that seniors are the least likely to obey the rules of the road and pay attention to other drivers, because they feel they’ve had to follow the rules their whole lives and think that it’s time others accommodate them for once.
OK, this is a satire, meaning it’s not for real. But for a more serious correlation, our buses are operating in a fashion similar to those senior citizens stereotyped in the article. Did you know that all three of our transit providers require the bus drivers to stay within 15 MPH of the traffic in the lane beside them, EVEN WITH NO TRAFFIC IN FRONT OF THEM. Yes, the buses actually limit the flow traffic and contribute heavily to congestion, particularly in the HOV / HOT lanes because of this requirement. This behavior is a valid response to the safety concern that drivers regularly switch lanes in front of buses, (ironically, it is often to avoid getting stuck behind them).
But this requirement could go away if WSDOT had simply built our HOV lanes properly to begin with. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) guidelines call for a 4 foot separation between the HOV lane and the general purpose lanes.
So if the HOV lanes had a physical divider or the 4′ separation with limited entry/exit points (2 characteristics they included in the Toll Lanes to make them work) this would relieve the much of the negative impact that buses have on HOV lanes and further prove that it is not the charging of money, but the design elements of the toll lanes, that make them operate more efficiently.